I was a little surprised to see a new Neuroshima Hex army come across my review stack. I figured with the release of Monolith Arena, Portal Games would be focusing on that game instead. But, as I own Neuroshima Hex and not that one, I was happy to see that was not the case. And I’m always down to check out a new army for this great dueling game.
Which brings us to the Troglodytes. At first, I thought that this was going to be a cross over army from Portal’s other game, Cry Havoc. But instead of being big green monsters, it’s actually a faction of cannibals that descend down from the north when the frost arrives. Winter is coming!
New armies for Neuorshima Hex always do something unique. Portal Games is never content to just slap on a new theme onto an existing army and call it a day. So what’s the unique feature of the Troglodytes? Cannibalism. A unit with this ability can destroy an adjacent, friendly unit to give themselves a boost: increasing their initiate or strength by one.
They also don’t feature any modules, instead having a ton of units and 7 battle tiles. Their two special tiles are Avalanche: which inflicts one wound on hexes bordering one side of the map. The other one lets the player cannibalize an adjacent enemy unit!
Other than that, you’ll find mostly melee attackers with two unique tiles that can perform ranged attacks. The ranged attacks are actually throwers, which can attack only one tile away, but from the point of the thrower, rather than a flat side. This opens up some interesting tactical opportunities.
Game Experience with the Expansion:
It’s always a little hard reviewing expansions for Neuorhsima Hex, because unless the expansion is unbalanced, or drastically different than a standard army (I’m looking at you Dancer), you know what you are going to get—a new and unique way to play the game. I’ve lost track of how many expansion armies we’ve seen for Neuroshima Hex, but I have a lot of them and I’ve never failed to be impressed with how clever they always are.
And that trend continues with the Troglodytes. Of course, the unique spin for this faction is their cannibalize ability. I will admit that in my first game, I got absolutely pasted playing this faction. The Troglodytes, while fun to control, are not one I’d recommend for newbies. This is a faction for Neuorhsima Hex veterans as opposed to someone looking for their first expansion to graduate from the core game.
And that’s because the cannibalism feature can be a double-edged sword. Yes, you are getting a solid boost for your unit, but it’s at the expense of one of your other troops. So not only do you need to know when to cannibalize a unit but also which bonus to take. I had the most luck when I knew I was close to a battle, and sacrificed a unit that was going to die before doing anything anyway. Instead of losing a unit to a high initiative enemy, I took away their kill and boosted my own unit in the process. That’s a solid trade-off.
Of course, the other downside of the Troglodytes is their lack of modules and a heavier amount of battle tokens. They also feature a lot of units, so that, combined with their grouping of battle tokens means you’ll be throwing a lot of troops into the grinder. If you are the type of player that loves to attack and press their foot on the gas, then the Troglodytes might be the faction for you.
While I don’t love every Neuroshima Hex faction (I don’t ever need to play Dancer again), I can definitely appreciate how unique all of them are. And the Troglodytes didn’t disappoint me in this regard. While the cannibalize action can take some getting used to, I can absolutely see this army excelling in the hands of a skilled player. They are a solid army all around, although I do kind of wish they were based on the Cry Havoc army…
As you might have guessed, the Troglodytes is an easy pickup for any fans of Neurshima Hex. The army is unique, offering a new strategic experience, but not so outside the bose that you are not going to know what you are getting yourself into.
• More suited to an experienced Neuroshima Hex player